Outlook for Spring
It has been a long but nice winter in the western U.P. Now the longer days and warming sun mean getting ready for spring sanctuary visits and putting the final touches on summer plans. As stewards of your various sanctuaries, you are the first line of defense. Your visit in the spring and follow-up report to me of your observations, sets my priorities for the season.
Observations I need you to make:
1. Signs of change from your last visit such as increase in human activity and natural changes.
2. Condition of our signs, trail heads, trail conditions, erosion, windfalls, ORV trespass etc.
3. Neighborhood changes, logging, new building, road construction all may affect our
sanctuaries and will prompt me to follow-up so everyone is aware of our responsibility to protect what we have preserved.
4. I need to hear your thoughts and concerns as how better to improve signage, visitation and
any materials or help you need.
I appreciate each one of you for your faithful work. We have had a steady schedule of events, from the Fall Color Tours to the winter hikes and ski trips, all attended well with lots of compliments from participants due to your help and participation. Work projects have been successful as you have come to the aid of fellow stewards.
We are the leaders in the Keweenaw among conservancies with the most sanctuaries open to the public, beautiful trails, good signs and educational programs and exhibits. Each one of you has played a part in making the MNA shine in the Keweenaw.
We have an ambitious list of projects for this summer which are going to be fun to accomplish. I will list a couple of the bigger projects so you can consider signing up. I will be putting together crews which will make the work fast and efficient saving our time commitment.
-TBA (due to road conditions) We are having a combination LNT campout and work day at Bare Bluff / Grinnell Mem. N.S. We will be building three switch backs on the trail in order to traverse the loose rock at the base of the bluff. With no bugs, and warm days we plan to set up camp and layout the project on Friday afternoon, then build the trail Saturday. Dig out your camp stove, and LNT gear for a great time.
-May 5 - 7 we will start our Black Creek restoration project, phase I. See success story. We will have 1,500 Red and White Pine seedlings to plant on old ORV trails and along the streams.
-We have a trail re-route and extension to construct at the Garden Brook / James Rooks Mem. That work will be done with the help of Sam and Jason and their Copper Harbor Trail Club.
-The second observation platform will be constructed at the Lake Perault / Robert T.Brown N.S the last part of May. Jeffers High School students will play a key role.
Other smaller projects include, bridge building on Black Creek, scrap metal clean up, trail design and flagging, “you are here” sign routing, gate installation, and display design and erection. I will be talking to many of you soon concerning your projects.
Success ! Now What
I am sure most of you read the stories in the Mining Gazette and January MNA newsletter about our efforts last summer to bring the ORV traffic at the Black Creek N.S. under control. It had been a frustrating problem for years but impossible to act upon until Jim and Joy Ziemnick stepped up as stewards. Without them on sight as monitors we wouldn’t have succeeded. Jim reports no activity all fall and a big increase in skiers and snowshoers this winter. He lead 31 on a snowshoe hike of the newly revised trail earlier.
Now what ? The ORV damage in the lagoon region of the sanctuary was MDNR accessed as the worst in the U.P. To assist nature in repairing this destruction we are starting a multi-phased restoration program. With the help of 1970s photos we have designed several plantings to stabilize banks and replace missing tree canopy. The first plantings of red and white pine seedlings will start May 5. followed by, willow, dogwood, and beach grass plantings in the fall. We are receiving great technical assistance from restoration experts and look forward to watching this special place recover. Let me know if you can join one of our teams.